Ford's New Granada Driving Impressions

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Ford’s policy of multifarious options seems now to stretch to the naming of their cars as well as the equipment. Reluctant to replace the Granada name with the European tag “Scorpio”, the company have played safe and used the latter as a trim specification, displacing the Ghia name from the top of the range. This decision would seem to devalue the identity of the new model, but at least the picture is simplified by having only three versions, albeit with four engines.

Ford recently made available to journalists some left-hand-drive Granadas in Germany, and I drove two of these, a 2.0 injection and the 2.8i V6. The 2-litre engine performed adequately most of the time, but much gear-changing seemed necessary for overtaking, and it preferred to tackle motorway hills in fourth rather than top.

Good soundproofing helps to disguise how hard the engine is working, and otherwise the four-cylinder shares the comfort of the Scorpio. Wind and road noise is low, although the car tended to wander a little in gusty sidewinds, and visibility astern is good thanks to the glazed rear quarters. In the heavy rain with which we were blessed, it was sometimes difficult to see around the screen-pillars, but this is a problem common to all cars with heavily-raked screens.

All models have a particularly clear dashboard layout, although the GL has holes (disguised as coin pockets and the like) where the Scorpio has trip computers and sophisticated hi-fl. Top model owners also benefit from electrically adjustable seats with a neat control which is particularly easy to operate; the resulting driving posture is very comfortable, while the controls are all easily to hand. I particularly liked the small paddles for indicators and wipers. The chassis is reassuring rather than exciting, the gentle and predictable understeer offset by power-assisted steering (available or standard on all models) and if the driver’s high viewpoint seems to emphasise some roll, it is to no disturbing degree. The car seems more at home with the V6, but does not feel as fast as the 0-60 mph time of 9.0 sec would indicate — perhaps an indication of how cosseted the Scorpio occupant feels. With seemingly endless room for feet and heads even in the back seat, separate heater and music controls and adjustable seats, the rear seat passenger should enjoy even the longest journey.

The new Granada is obviously a good long-distance cruiser. Quiet, roomy, smooth and luxuriously equipped, it rivals Audi, Volvo, and BMW models, but also offers a hatchback. It is, however, shorter on appeal to the sporting driver than some models from the two German marques, and it remains to be seen whether the forthcoming version with Ford’s excellent 4WD system will fulfill such a requirement. — G.C.

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